A comedy event and silent auction at Club Soda last night raised $285 000 for the new Centre for Colon and Rectal Surgery. The Centre, part of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC), opened in July 2003.
Last night's sell-out event in support of the Centre was organized by Karen Dubrofsky and Heidi Gossack Majnemer. Over 400 guests turned out to enjoy comedians Rick Bronson, Phil Shuchat and emcee David Acer.
"Proceeds will be used to purchase much-needed diagnostic equipment such as flexible sigmoidoscopes," says MUHC Surgeon and Director of the new Centre Dr. Barry Stein. "This equipment is vital, because it allows early detection of colorectal cancer."
The earlier colorectal cancer is diagnosed, the more treatable it is. If colon polyps - the small growths that are precursors of colorectal cancer - can be detected and removed in time, the disease can be avoided altogether.
"Acquisition of this new equipment will also put us in the position to hire another surgeon," says Dr. Stein. "This will significantly increase our patient care capacity."
The Centre, located at the Montreal General Hospital, serves all MUHC patients. Its two staff physicians, Dr. Stein and Dr. Patrick Charlebois, currently see between 40 and 60 patients a day.
"I think the tremendous community response to the fund-raiser shows that people truly want to do something about colorectal cancer, ' says Dr. Stein. "They realize it is a treatable disease, and they are happy to help raise money for equipment which can help patients here and now."
"People supported this event because they realize the community has a real and immediate need for the Centre," adds Ms. Dubrofsky.
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in Canada, after lung cancer. In 2003, according to estimates by the Canadian Cancer Society:
- 18,000 Canadians were diagnosed with colorectal cancer
- 8,300 Canadians died of the disease